The German authorities have decided to activate the so-called alarm mode – the second stage of the emergency plan in case of an emergency in the gas sector. This was announced in Berlin on Thursday, June 23, by the Minister of Economy of Germany, Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck. He explained this measure by reducing gas supplies from Russia and persistently high gas prices. “We are in a state of gas crisis. From now on, gas is a scarce commodity. Prices are already high today, and we should prepare for their further increase,” Khabek stressed. At the same time, he called the reduction in Russian supplies an “economic attack” on Germany.
The second stage of the emergency plan is introduced in the event of an interruption in gas supply or an extremely high demand for gas, which leads to a significant deterioration in the situation with gas supply. At this stage, it is assumed that the market is still able to cope with these problems on its own, without the adoption of non-market measures.
The introduction of an alarm level does not mean that gas suppliers will now have the right to pass on sharply rising prices directly to consumers. Federal Grid Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) will not yet activate the corresponding article of the law on energy security, since the regulator has not yet stated the fact of “a significant reduction in gas imports.”
The third stage of the emergency plan
The third stage of the emergency plan – an emergency – is activated if gas supply worsen so much that the situation can no longer be corrected without the intervention of the state. Then the Federal Agency for Grids, in agreement with fuel suppliers, decides on quotas for gas supplies to consumers in order to protect, first of all, the most vulnerable groups, such as households, hospitals, gas power plants.
On the background Russia’s wars with Ukraine Robert Habek activated the first stage of the emergency plan – warning mode – at the end of March.